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Battery Chemistry Chart

The following battery chemistry charts show how various primary and secondary battery chemistries differ in a number of important areas. These charts are designed to help choose the right battery type for your specific application. For additional assistance, please contact us.

PRIMARY (Non-Rechargeable Batteries)

Primary cell batteries are designed to be used once and discarded. As a primary cell is used, the chemical reactions in the battery consume the chemicals that generate power. When these chemicals are depleted, the battery stops producing electricity. Primary batteries can have far lower self-discharge rates than rechargeable batteries, making them ideal for applications where long periods of storage are required, such as emergency flashlights, or for applications requiring small current over a long period, such as smoke detectors.

Chemistry Li
Alkaline Carbon
Sizes variable AAAA, AAA, AA, C, D and 9 volt AAAA, AAA, AA, C, D and 9 volt Button and 9V transistor size
Shelf life:

Self Discharge:
10+ years at 20°C 5 years to 80% capacity (20° C) 2 to 3 years to 80% capacity (20° C) Activated cells can retain 50% of their capacity after 3-12 weeks at 20° C
Cell Voltage 1.5V, 3.0V, 3.6V(nominal) 1.5V (nominal) 0.8 (cut-off) 1.5V (nominal) 0.8 (cut-off) 1.4V (nominal)
Capacity 30mAh to 5Ah 34 mAh to 15,000 mAh 60mAh – 30Ah 65mAh to 1,100mAh
Energy by Volume (230 Wh/kg); 9.0 Wh/in3 (550 Wh/L) 75 Wh/lb. (163 Wh/kg) 9 Watt Hour/Kilogram N/A
Energy by Weight dependent on cell configuration; up to 105 Wh/lb. 6.5 Wh/cubic inch (398 Wh/litre) 0.06-0.12 Watt Hour/cubic centimeter N/A
Cycle Life n/a n/a n/a n/a
Operating Temp Range -20° to 60°C -20° C to +55° C -5° C to +55° C -20° C to +60° C
Rechargeable no no no no
Preferred Charge Method n/a n/a n/a n/a
Charge Temperature n/a n/a n/a n/a
Discharge Temperature -20° to 60°C -20° C to +55° C -5° C to +55° C -20° C to +60° C
Charge Cutoff Voltage n/a n/a n/a n/a

SECONDARY (Rechargeable Batteries)

In contrast to a primary cell, a secondary cell battery can be recharged and reused, often over hundreds or thousands of cycles. Running a current into a rechargeable battery regenerates its chemical reactants and reverses the effects of electricity-producing chemical reactions. Though the initial cost of secondary cells is usually higher than that of primary cells, rechargeable batteries prove to be more cost-effective over time than replacing spent primary cells.

Chemistry Li-Ion/
LiFePO4 NiCd NiMH SLA Silver
Sizes 18650 and various prismatic sizes 18650, 26650, and large prismatic Widest selection of cylindrical and button sizes. Various Button and Round Cells Large prismatic format button cell configurations
Shelf life:

Self Discharge:
≤3% month ≤3% month 20%/month 30%/month 5%/month Charge retention is over 84% after two years of storage at 70°F (21°C)
Cell Voltage 3.7 (nominal) 3.2V (nominal) 1.2V (nominal) 1.2V (nominal) 2.0V (nominal) open circuit voltage of the silver cell is 1.6 V. Typical median operating voltage is 1.5 to 1.2 V.
Capacity 500 mAh – 10,000 mAh 1Ah to 20Ah+ 11mAh to 20,000+mAh 11mAh to 20,000+mAh 500mAh to 100Ah or more 14 mAh to 180 mAh.
Energy by Volume 250 Wh/L 220 Watt Hour/cc 40-60 Watt Hour/kg N/A 30 Watt Hour/Kilogram 60 Wh/lb. (130 Wh/kg)
Energy by Weight 120 Wh/kg 90+ Watt Hour/kg Watt Hour/cc 60-80 Watt Hour/Kilogram Watt Hour/cubic centimeter 8.2 Wh/cubic inch (500 Wh/l)
Cycle Life 500+ 2000 - 7000 500 to 5000 500 200-500 n/a
Operating Temp Range -20°C to 60°C -40° C to +60° C -40° C to +60° C -20° C to +60° C -20° C to +60° C -20° C to +60° C
Rechargeable yes yes yes yes yes yes
Preferred Charge Method constant voltage/constant current CC/CV to Constant Current (-D V fast) DT/dt - Peak Voltage Detect and Timer Constant Voltage C/10 to C/4 n/a
Charge Temperature -0° C to +45° C -0° C to +45° C 0°C to 45°C 0°C to 45°C -20°C to 50°C n/a
Discharge Temperature -20°C to 60°C -20°C to 60°C -20°C to 60°C -20°C to 60°C -20°C to 60°C -20° C to +60° C
Charge Cutoff Voltage 4.2 3.6 Full charge detection by voltage signature Full charge detection by voltage signature 2.40 Float 2.25 n/a

Consult the charts above to determine the right battery for your needs, then request a quote. Or, contact House of Batteries for more information.

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